Updated: Jun 27, 2020
When my twins were born, Morgan weighed just one pound, three ounces and Justin weighed two pounds, nine ounces. If you translate this into grams, it turned out that they were both under what I soon learned was a magic number – 1200 grams.
One day in the NICU, a social worker stopped by and told me that, because they were under 1200 grams when they were born and for as long as they were “living” in the hospital, we were eligible for benefits from the state that reimbursed us for medical expenses (the cash we paid related to deductibles and co-pays under our insurance policy) and mileage for the trips we made to and from the hospital. She helped us fill out the necessary forms to get approval. That was worth several thousand dollars to us and we were very grateful to have the assistance. Without that specific conversation with that specific social worker, however, I never would have known that such assistance was even available. It would never have occurred to me to even ask a question about it.
Because Morgan stayed in the hospital for several months, I had the opportunity to get to know several other parents who had babies in the hospital. Several of them would have qualified for reimbursement of those same expenses, but nobody told them they could apply. I was lucky enough to talk to the right social worker who knew the right information for me at the right time. Others were not so lucky.
When a family has a baby in the NICU, everything is confusing and overwhelming. Is there a way we can change the system so that everyone who would qualify for this benefit would be made aware of it?